What is a Silt Fence?
A silt fence is a temporary sediment control measure used in construction and land development projects to prevent soil erosion and retain sediment runoff. It consists of a barrier made of hay bales, permeable geotextile fabric or silt sacs that are installed along the contour of slopes or at the bottom of slopes. The hay bales, fabric or silt sacs allow water to pass through while trapping sediment and preventing it from entering nearby water bodies or stormwater drains. Silt fences are commonly used to protect streams, rivers, lakes, and other environmentally sensitive areas from soil erosion during construction activities.
Why are Silt Fences Important?
Silt fences are important for several reasons:
- Soil erosion prevention: They help prevent soil erosion by controlling the movement of sediment. During construction activities, exposed soil is highly susceptible to erosion by wind and water. Silt fences act as a barrier, capturing sediment and preventing it from being carried away by runoff.
- Water quality protection: Silt fences play a crucial role in protecting water quality. Sediment-laden runoff can pollute nearby water bodies, leading to siltation, degradation of aquatic ecosystems, and potential harm to aquatic life. By intercepting sediment-laden runoff, silt fences help maintain water quality by reducing sedimentation.
- Compliance with environmental regulations: Many construction and development projects are subject to environmental regulations that require measures to control erosion and sedimentation. Silt fences are a commonly accepted and recognized sediment control method that helps meet these regulatory requirements.
- Cost-effective solution: Silt fences are relatively inexpensive compared to other erosion control measures. They are simple to install and can cover large areas quickly, making them a cost-effective option for managing sediment runoff on construction sites.
- Temporary and adaptable: Silt fences are designed to be temporary and can be easily installed, adjusted, or removed as needed. They can be installed in various configurations to suit different site conditions and slopes.
Overall, silt fences are important tools for mitigating the environmental impacts of construction and land development activities, protecting water quality, and ensuring compliance with regulations.
Why Should Contractors Use Silt Fences?
There are several reasons why contractors should use silt fences including:
- Erosion and sediment control: Silt fences are effective in controlling erosion and preventing sediment runoff from construction sites. By installing silt fences, contractors can minimize soil erosion and retain sediment on-site, reducing the negative impacts on nearby water bodies and ecosystems.
- Reputation and public perception: Using silt fences demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible construction practices. It can enhance a contractor’s reputation, improve public perception, and contribute to a positive image in the community.
- Regulatory compliance: Many construction projects are subject to environmental regulations that require erosion and sediment control measures. Silt fences are a commonly accepted and recognized method for meeting these regulatory requirements. By using silt fences, contractors ensure compliance with environmental regulations and avoid potential fines or penalties.
- Protecting water quality: Silt fences play a crucial role in protecting water quality. Sediment-laden runoff from construction sites can pollute rivers, streams, and other water bodies, causing siltation, habitat degradation, and harm to aquatic life. Silt fences intercept and trap sediment, preventing it from entering water bodies and helping to maintain water quality.
- Cost-effectiveness: Silt fences are a cost-effective erosion control measure. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and can cover large areas quickly. By implementing silt fences, contractors can effectively manage sediment runoff while keeping costs down compared to more complex erosion control methods.